Tucked away in the bustling heart of Madrid, the rhythmic heart of indie rock thrums to the beats of Jamie 4 President. Since their inception in 2013, the trio – Jamie R. Green (vocals, guitar), Pablo Gonzalez (drums), and Borja Perez (bassist and producer) – have forged a soundscape that melds the familiar with the innovative. Despite the physical distance separating them across the Iberian Peninsula, their music remains an unyielding testament to their bond.
Their latest LP, “It Bites,” promises not just an auditory experience but a voyage. In collaboration with BCore Disc, CGTH Records, Waterslide Records, Pifia Records, and La Agonía de Vivir and the adroit production skills of Santi Garcia, the album is poised to resonate with both longstanding fans and fresh ears.
The intricacies of their guitar work, embracing listeners with arpeggios and delays, is synonymous with a musical sojourn into one’s soul. Jamie R. Green’s lyrical prowess is evident, as he bares his soul with sincerity, echoing sentiments that many can relate to. And, while English may not be the first choice for this genre in Spain, Jamie’s heritage lends an authenticity to the band’s choice of lingua franca.
Diving into their discography, one might recall the first mention of Jamie 4 President in 2017 on IDIOTEQ. Their musical journey then held inklings of punk rock reminiscence, akin to Wild Animals. Yet, with “It Bites,” they’ve embarked on a reinvigorated path, holding onto their roots while exploring new horizons.
“Cobwebs” stands out as a testament to their evolving soundscape. The infusion of 80s-inspired synthesizers, combined with the audacious production, crafts a song that is nostalgic yet forward-thinking. Jamie’s reflections on the track’s inception reveal a transformation from a simple acoustic demo to a cinematic auditory piece, further enhancing the band’s versatility. The lyrical narrative of “Cobwebs” is both soulful and introspective, capturing the dilemmas of adulthood juxtaposed against the ambitions of youth.
The album, in its entirety, is a mosaic of experiences and stories. From the upbeat rhythms of “True Crime” to the contemplative melodies of “Dreams of Arcata,” Jamie 4 President ensures that each track has its unique tale.
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The spontaneity in the studio, coupled with the decisions made on the fly, infuse a raw and authentic energy into the songs. Whether it’s the catchy choruses of “We Owned the Night” or the 90s rock homage in “Eruptions,” the trio leaves no stone unturned in their musical exploration.
Concluding with “Castaways,” the band captures the collective sentiment of 2020 – a year marked by solitude and introspection. The song’s progression from minimalistic to rich harmonies encapsulates the tumultuous journey of the year, ending with a dreamy departure to a distant realm.
In the grand tapestry of indie rock, Jamie 4 President has carved out a niche that’s uniquely theirs.
Through “It Bites,” they invite listeners to partake in their musical odyssey, promising a ride that’s as heartfelt as it is melodious. And as the final notes of the album fade, one can’t help but eagerly anticipate where their journey will take them next.
Check out the full track by track commentary, issued by Jamie 4 President themselves.
We released this as the first single as it feels representative of the record in general and what we were aiming for, which basically means adding some synth and programming to our regular songcraft and guitars.
The song structures and melodies were mainly untouched in recording but we created all of the album’s drum tracks on the spot in the studio, which was fun and though some are heavily processed (like this one) they’re all played 100% by Pablo, our drummer.
On this song and a couple of others we were going for an 80s film soundtrack kind of vibe if that makes sense. The lyrics are about following your own path in life and staying positive in the face of ever more adversity.
MY LUCKY TOKEN
Back in the dark days of 2020 we’d just released our fourth album “Consolation Prize” and were in the middle of touring it when the pandemic hit.
Faced with being stuck alone at home, uncertain with how things were going to pan out and lots of time on my hands, I wrote a bunch of songs inspired by the situation, some of which made this record, such as this one. There was a brief moment in the studio where Santi (Garcia, producer) suggested stripping everything down and going for a really hushed, intimate approach but in the end we went the other way and it’s one of the few we pulled the Big Muff out for.
I think the melodies and lyrics are pretty strong and several people have told me it’s a trademark J4P song whatever that’s supposed to mean.
With this one we had many directions in which we could take it as the bare bones were quite solid but in the end we decided to do a full on 80s power ballad, going all in with the synths.
The idea was to make a song that was totally recognizable from the first few seconds and it’s a testament to Santi’s production skills if that’s the case. The intention was to have the vocals more upfront on this record and we used some cool effects, this song being a good example.
There’s unusually little guitar on it until the final guitar solo comes in, which was played by our friend Vidal Soler who unlike us can really shred, but now I’ve to figure out a way of pulling it off live haha. After going through several album title options this became the title track and it may actually be my favourite track on the record for what it’s worth.
There’s a really scuzzy home demo of this with just me and Borja (bass) out there somewhere on a compilation that our friend Car of the great emo band Mentah put together. When we were figuring out which songs would be on this album I realised a lot of them were kind of mid-tempo so this one would add some dynamics. It’s recorded at 200 bpm which is pretty fast for us and we wanted to capture a more aggressive, punky feel but with freak synth and acoustic guitar instead of the more obvious choice of distorted electrics. The lyrics are inspired by a couple of injustice related true crime stories, the kind of which make your blood boil.
DREAMS OF ARCATA
This song isn’t actually a dream but rather a very literal account of a night that my old band Wild Animals spent when we played a house show in Arcata, Northern California touring the US west coast in 2018. So literal in fact, that Fon, who was the bass player in that band and head of La Agonia de Vivir records, says it creeps him out… I switched the different parts of the song around endless times before we were happy with it, it had two different choruses, one of which became the bridge. We’d rehearsed it as a more straightforward power pop song but in the studio it was decided to do something more adventurous and epic in feel. The interesting thing about creating a lot of an album from scratch in the studio is you don’t have time to overthink things and so you live and die by the decisions you make on the spot. It’s both my mum’s and my girlfriend’s favourite song on the record haha.
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A couple of years ago, after 12 years living in Madrid, my girlfriend and I moved to Málaga on the south coast of Spain where I’d grown up. This song is a pretty accurate representation of that moment, some of the problems we faced and adapting to our new home. Like a lot of our songs it’s heavy on melancholy but ultimately hopeful. Going back to what I said about making decisions spontaneously, this one had a whole extended third section that we cut from the song at the last minute as we felt it derailed the flow of it a bit. So what there is is short, straight to the point and again I’m really happy with the production.
WHISKY & SODA
Once again the lyrics tell a (true) story as those are the ones that come easiest to me and though that could seem a bit cringey in the long run, I feel it’s more genuine and it’s another one that musically could’ve gone in several different directions. On this record there’s a lot of acoustic guitar played very aggressively to add brightness and percussion and the rhythm section is both tight and elastic if that makes sense. There was a weird keyboard part in the last chorus but when we heard it on its own we couldn’t stop laughing, so it’s mixed really low but it’s in there. We tried to record the lead vocal in one go for momentum but it was impossible without me running out of breath so we punched in a couple of times.
WE OWNED THE NIGHT
This could’ve been a straight up twinkly emo kind of thing but we knew we wanted to take it in a different direction on the chorus, hence we came up with the weird drum part and added a synth that sounds like it’s from a 90s euro disco track. It took several mixes to get it right as it’s sometimes difficult to transfer into sound what you have in your head. The lyrics are about trying to avoid falling into self-destruction and friendships that are somewhat toxic. We felt it had one of the better choruses on the album but there was something just missing and from the beginning I’d imagined it with a female vocal, so in the end we got our friend Paula, who was in Wild Animals with me, to sing backing vocals long distance.
I honestly have no recollection of writing this song but I found a demo of it just before recording. Showing it to the rest they liked it so we had it as back up but when in the studio there was one track that just wasn’t working so we decided to include this one instead. It’s recorded and structured almost as a pastiche of what the 90s rock music we grew up was, an affectionate tribute nevertheless. The vocal is actually the very last thing we recorded on the album and sounds like it, as we’d started celebrating before finishing haha. We also had a technical problem in the studio at just the wrong moment but managed to beat the clock.
This was another one written during 2020 and infused with the sense of loneliness and detachment that many of us felt at that time. Most of our songs for better or worse have a clear structure but this sprawls a bit more and it took a while to get right as it goes from being very minimal and intimate to quite big and colourful with harmonies and instrumentation. Pablo felt it was the big song on the record and it was the first one we recorded but ended up last on the album, which I think works because the last line talks of being transported to another, less screwed up planet and then the music just floats away accordingly into the ether haha.